Need new company name

Inasmuch as many people aren’t confident about pronouncing “Menteith”, it’s time to change the company name.

As Dave Pawson put it, it’s pronounced like “men teeth”, but if you’re not a native speaker of English, you’re not necessarily going to know what to do with the “eith” combination.

A change has been on the cards since tcworld 2009 in Wiesbaden when, quite by chance and after several people had had trouble with the name, I heard two women at lunch, an Australian and an American, discussing their respective Norwegian husband’s accents then straying into a general discussion of how non-native speakers of English pronounce “th”. The need to change became obvious again at XML Prague 2010 last weekend when people there had similar difficulties.

Mind you, I have my own difficulties with non-English words. Also with some made-up words that contain a ‘X’ just to denote their XMLishness (though I’ve made up a few of my own in my time, including ‘xmlroff‘ and ‘xslide’).

The ground rules for a new name are:

  • Has to be easy to pronounce by native speakers and non-native speakers of English
  • Domain name has to be available
  • Should be shorter than “Menteith Consulting”, because long names make for very long email addresses
  • Doesn’t have to include a ‘X’
  • Would be useful if I had some personal connection with the name
  • Should not be slang for a body part or any intimate activity

‘Menteith’ is from the ‘Graham of Menteith’ tartan, so it fits the connection test but, sadly, fails the pronouncability test. There’s lots of Irish names that would fail the pronouncability test with native English speakers, and seemingly all the most useful Australian words are already taken as domain names. Then there’s the important question of whether a name has an unwanted slang meaning in any language of interest.

I could say ‘watch this space’, but it will be a while before I come up with a name to which it’s worth changing that passes all the tests.